The best alternative to a cure: Queensland researchers in massive Covid-19 breakthrough as they find a way to kill 99.9% of virus in people’s lungs
- Australian scientists are developing a breakthrough treatment to stop the coronavirus
- The antiviral therapy has been proven to kill 99 percent of the virus in the lungs
- The technology works using an RNA drug known as gene silencing
An antiviral therapy that kills 99.9 percent of Covid-19 particles in the lungs is heralded as the second-best cure.
The ‘next generation’ technology acts like a ‘heat-seeking missile’ to detect and attack the particles, developed by a team of international scientists from Australia. Menzies Health Institute Queensland at Griffith University.
MHIQ co-lead investigator Professor Nigel McMillan said the breakthrough treatment prevents the virus from multiplying and could even end Covid-related deaths around the world.
Professor Kevin Morris (left) Dr. Adi Idris (second left), Professor Nigel McMillan (center), Dr. Arron Supramanin (second right) and Mr. Yusif Idres (right) are part of the Griffith University COVID-19 antiviral research team
“Basically it’s a mission to search and destroy,” he said.
“We can specifically destroy the virus that grows in a person’s lungs.”
It works using a medical technology called gene silencing, first discovered in Australia in the 1990s.
Gene silencing uses RNA – fundamental building blocks in the body, similar to DNA – to attack respiratory disease.
“This is a technology that works with small pieces of RNA that can bind specifically to the genome of the virus,” said Professor McMillan.
“This binding causes the genome to stop working and in fact causes the cells to destroy it.”
“Essentially it’s a mission to search and destroy,” said Prof. McMillan. ‘We can specifically destroy the virus that grows in someone’s lungs’
Pictured: An image shows that the RNA drug can prevent the Covid-19 virus from multiplying
While there have been other antiviral treatments such as Zanamivir and Remdesivir that have reduced symptoms and helped coronavirus patients recover more quickly, this is the first treatment to stop the virus immediately.
The drug must be delivered into the bloodstream via injection into something called a ‘nanoparticle’.
“These nanoparticles go to the lungs and fuse in the cells that deliver the RNA,” said Prof. McMillan.
“The RNA searches for the virus and destroys its genome, making the virus unable to replicate.”
Scientists have been working on the treatment since April last year, when Australia received a nationwide shutdown for six weeks.
Since the virus, there have been more than 165 million cases of coronavirus worldwide, including 3.4 million deaths first appeared in Wuhan in December 2019.
The University of Griffith treatment is now entering the next phase of clinical trials and is expected to be available by 2023.
Scientists have been working on the treatment since April last year, when Australia received a nationwide shutdown for six weeks. Pictured: Technicians prepare Pfizer vaccines at newly opened COVID-19 vaccination center in Sydney
The University of Griffith treatment is now entering the next phase of clinical trials and is expected to be available in 2023. Pictured: Technicians Prepare Pfizer Vaccines at Newly Opened COVID-19 Vaccination Center in Sydney